The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) is attempting to reduce bureaucracy to make agricultural investment more appealing. The Minister says they are planning to prepare a cluster farm land that is ready for use so an investor can directly grow crops without worrying about preparing the land or infrastructural development.
“The performance of commercial farms is not up to our expectations. To speed up their performance, we are planning to develop ready-made clusters of agricultural lands. Such an activity will reduce the time required to prepare land and develop infrastructure like roads. When agricultural investors request a plot land, we will promptly give it to them. Investors are liable to reimburse the cost incurred. In such a way, we can engage as many investors as possible in the shortest time possible to achieve the desired goal,” said Tefera Derebew, Minister of Agriculture, while responding to an MP query last Thursday.
About 11, 773 domestic and foreign agricultural investors have been licensed so far in Ethiopia with a cumulative registered capital of 132 billion birr. Out of the total licensed agricultural investors, 5,284 of them have received 2.2 million hct of land on a lease basis. Only 372,088hct of the transferred land has been developed. This represents 17.6pct of the total land allotted for private agricultural development.
Only 126 of the 5,284 investors who received land are foreign nationals. With regard to land distribution, almost 27 percent of the 2.2 million hectares belongs to foreign investors while the remaining 73 percent is to domestic investors.
In a bid to facilitate agricultural investment, the federal government developed a land bank system in which regional states deposit land that exceeds 5,000hct in one plot. In doing so, the government deposited more than 3.6 million hectares of land in its account since 2008.
Agriculture is the backbone of Ethiopian economy. It employs 62 million people while ensuring more 85 percent of Ethiopia’s export earnings. It also contributes 43 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).